Sunday, October 24, 2010

Finishing Up The Harvest

Well, the rain has moved in and I haven't made it out to the field, but that's ok.  I'll get out there sooner or later.  The good news is that the temperatures are still not that cold so I can still do any digging I need to do, like hauling dirt from my "dirt hole" and adding it to my garden boxes, and transplanting herb plants, or scratching in some perennial flower seeds.  It is supposed to rain off and on the next couple of days so I expect to dodge rain drops this week. 

I got the sauerkraut canned -- 21 quarts and did it ever turn out good! -- and put the last 6 quarts of zucchini in the freezer.  I hope to steam another bushel of pumpkins tomorrow.

 As for Mama Pea's inquiry:  I have a Mehu Lisa steamer/juicer that I bought from Lehman's for a birthday present to myself, and I steam my pumpkins in that. 

Mehu Lisa Steamer/Juicer and Foley Mill
 (A large pot with a canning rack in the bottom to keep the pumpkins up and out of the water works just as well, if not quicker; you just don't get the distilled pumpkin juice using the pot). First, I take a paring knife or meat fork and poke holes all around the pumpkin.  Then, I try to break the top stem off; if it doesn't come off, that's ok.  I put the pumpkin in the microwave for 8 minutes on high power.  That softens the pumpkin enough to allow me to easily cut it into quarters or eighths (depending on how big the pumpkin is), and put the seeds aside for processing later.  I put the pieces in the steamer and steam them till soft.  I then scrape the meat from the shell, run it through the Foley food mill, and I pack the puree in freezer bags, 2 quarts per bag, and freeze it.  The pumpkin seeds are cleaned and placed in a large container of water.  The viable seeds sink to the bottom, and the "floaters" are carefully scooped out.  The floaters are what I soak in salt water overnight and roast for us to snack on.  The pumpkin shells go out to the compost pile.  I like to save only some of the steamed pumpkin juice and make a couple of batches of my version of Harry Potter's Pumpkin Juice for the kids and me.  Just for Halloween.   

I've been working on harvesting seed:  Garden Sorrel, Black Beauty zucchini, Yellow Warted Crookneck squash, New England Pie Pumpkin, and Ebeneezer onion seed.  I still have Wong Bok and French Breakfast Radish seed to harvest.

 Something is digging up my garlic so I ned to put a heavier mulch over the garlic bed.  Out in the garden boxes, the collards love the cooler weather, and the Italian Flat Leaf Parsley is holding up well.  The Scarlet Nantes carrots are just beautiful.  It was a bumper year for carrots, I think, for everybody I know.  All three of my plantings did great this year.

Talk to you later!

P.S.:  I just realized that I'm missing the base to my Mehu Lisa steamer/juicer in the picture above, so here is another older picture of the whole pot (on the left):


  1. What a great pile of pumpkins! That steamer looks like just the ticket. Lehman's eh? I need one. Fortunately my pumpkins, I only got two :( have been small. I've tried baking them for puree, but steaming is so much better. Sounds like you'll have a good stock of seeds too.

  2. Hi, Leigh -- I really like that Mehu Lisa, but if you aren't used to working with steam, you do need to be careful with it. I'd love to have loads of seed to plant because over the last 3 years with the unusual weather I've had to plant 3 times the seed I would normally plant in order to get any decent harvest.

  3. Many thanks for taking the time to post your pumpkin processing method. Always good to learn new things! Thanks again. :o)